The federal government could shut down on Friday if Congress doesn’t reach an agreement on spending. This would be the first time in history that a shutdown took place when one party – in this case, the internally divided Republicans – controls both houses of Congress as well as the presidency.
What Keeps Running: The military will still be working. But paychecks for the troops – even those in harm’s way in Iraq and Afghanistan – could be delayed. Social Security and Medicare checks, air traffic control, and U.S. mail deliveries will also continue.
But Millions of Americans Will Suffer: When the government shut down for 16 days in 2013:
- Veterans with disabilities had to wait two weeks for their benefits.
- Taxpayers didn’t get $4 billion in refunds for two weeks.
- National parks and monuments closed.
- Cancer patients couldn’t get clinical trials at the National Institutes for Health.
- The Environmental Protection Administration stopped inspecting 1,200 sites, including drinking water systems, hazardous waste facilities and chemical plants.
- The Food and Drug Administration postponed almost 500 food inspections.
Economy Would Take a Hit: S&P Global analysts predict a shutdown will cost the economy about $6.5 billion a week because furloughed federal workers (850,000 in 2013) won’t have paychecks to spend. S&P expects that, as in 2013, the economic slowdown will cost more than 100,000 private sector jobs that would have been created.